Day 34 – Max Patch, But Make It Rainy

Day 34

Start: Brown Gap

End: Walnut Mountain Shelter

Miles Hiked: 10.2

Miles on AT: 262.0


Well, today started with a bang. As we were making our way up to Brown Gap to get back on trail, thunderstorms broke loose and it started hailing! Gumball-sized spheres of ice pelted the car for at least ten minutes, all the while the storm raged and the rain got harder and harder. This was what I was supposed to be hiking in?

When it was our time to get back on trail, the rain and hail had subsided a bit, but we could still hear the frequent rumble of thunder in the distance. As usual when leaving a gap, we started climbing. With each step, my calves screamed. While the zero day had been restful, my calves had rested a bit too much and were now protesting about getting back to work. It took a couple of miles for things to loosen up again, but eventually I was free of the pain.

We walked through the rain – it wasn’t too bad this time around – and soon made it to Max Patch. Rain greeted us on the summit, meaning umbrella up for me. Despite the gloomy weather, the scene was beautiful. Thick white clouds floated amongst the distant mountains, green pastures enjoyed the hydration in the foreground. The green was so bright against the steel gray sky. The cold, windy rain ushered us off the summit a bit earlier than I would have preferred, but I still lingered on the way down, soaking in the last few glimpses of the moody beauty.

The trail after Max Patch was a mud pit. As much as I tried to avoid it, getting my shoes and socks muddy was inevitable. It rained a bit off and on, but then, miraculously, the sun came out and brought blue skies with it.

The rest of the day was wonderfully dry. I couldn’t help but notice how lush the forest had gotten. Green was everywhere and it was dense. The smells were immaculate, too. And it’s not just the flowers that give off a delicious scent, it’s the underbrush itself.

We reached Walnut Mountain Shelter without a hitch and fulfilled our normal camp duties. As usual, rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. It seems the rain tends to come in the afternoon, so maybe we can avoid it if we leave early enough tomorrow. Fingers crossed! But, it might be a windy night tonight. We’re tent camping, but are currently warm and dry – perfect!

And that’s day 34.


Follow my journey on instagram (@jenbrownhikes) for more updates!


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Comments 2

  • Anna : May 21st

    Jen, you have the sensibility of an artist/poet. Your posts are lovely reads, the photos are exquisite.

    • Jen Brown : May 27th

      Thank you, I really appreciate your comment 🙂


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